More Prophetic Yaconelli

“Evangelicals do not love the truth. We say we love the truth, but we are liars–we don’t believe it. If we believed it then we would trust it, and we would allow it in all its outrageousness, in all of its craziness and haphazardness, to sort of explode. Instead, we try to control it, manipulate it, and to make it into a set of lifeless and dead principles. If we believed the truth we would allow it to explode in pockets of oddness all over this country.”

What a loss this bloke was…

Teach Your Children Well

“The church today should be getting ready and talking about the issues of tomorrow and not the issues of 20 or 30 years ago, because the church is going to be squeezed in a wringer. If we found it tough in these last few years, what are we going to do when faced with the real changes that are ahead?… One of the greatest injustices we do to our young people is to ask them to be conservative. Christianity is not conservative but revolutionary. To be conservative today is to miss the whole point, for conservatism means standing in the flow of the status quo and the status quo no longer belongs to us… If we want to be fair we must teach the young to be revolutionaries, revolutionaries against the status quo”

Francis Schaeffer (1981)

I think Schaeffer was very much on the money for his time, but I think we are only now coming to grips with what he said. Whatever the case we cannot encourage our young people to be safe, conservative, non risk taking ‘Flanders’ type Christians. We must ask more of them than that…

God Still Loves You

I picked this quote up the other day but can’t remember where, so sorry if I pinched it off you unacknowledged! It spoke to an issue I have been pondering so you might find it helpful too.

Nouwen: … Let me paint a picture. You’re in a big room with a six-inch balance beam in the center. The balance beam is only twelve inches off the fully carpeted floor. Most of us act as if we were blindfolded and trying to walk on that balance beam; we’re afraid we’ll fall off. But we don’t realize we’re only twelve inches off the floor. The spiritual director is someone who can push you off that balance beam and say, “See? It’s okay. God still loves you. Take that nervousness about whether you’re going to succeed and whether you have enough money — take the whole thing up on that narrow beam and just fall off.”

Foster: That’s one of the great values of reading the saints. They had this utter vulnerability to fail by human standards.


“I think the besetting sin of pastors, maybe especially evangelical pastors, is impatience. We have a goal. We have a mission. We’re going to save the world. We’re going to evangelize everybody, and we’re going to do all this good stuff and fill our churches. This is wonderful. All the goals are right. But this is slow, slow work, this soul work, this bringing people into a life of obedience and love and joy before God.”

Eugene Petersen

Why are we impatient?…

Maybe because so much of what we do is about us…

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Disordered Love

I can’t remember where I found this, but it struck a chord…

“Our central lie is in the discrepancy between the language of worship and the actions of worship. We confess “Jesus is Lord” but only submit to the part of Christ’s authority that fits our grand personal designs, doesn’t cause pain, doesn’t disrupt the American dream, doesn’t draw us across ethnic and racial divisions, doesn’t add the pressure of too much guilt, doesn’t mean forgiving as we have been forgiven, doesn’t ask for more than a check to show compassion. We “sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs” expressing our desire to know Jesus, but the Jesus we want to know is the sanitized Jesus that looks a lot like us when we think we are at our best. Despite God’s Word to the contrary, we think we can say that we love God and yet hate our neighbor, neglect the widow, forget the orphan, fail to visit the prisoner, ignore the oppressed. Its the sign of disordered love. When we do this, our worship becomes a lie to God.”

Mark Labberton, The Dangerous Act of Worship: Living God’s Call to Justice (Downers Grove: IVP, 2007), 71

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Communication Quotes

After preaching this morning at a local Church of Christ and then this afternoon at the Sudanese church communication has been on my mind.

This morning was a ‘repeat’ sermon, something I find both easy and difficult – easy because I know it, but difficult because I haven’t had to work it thru as tightly as a new one.

Then this afternoon I had my first time speaking to a group of African people. I wasn’t sure what to expect. I prepared a sermon, but after arriving had that gut feel that I should change it. So with 5 minutes to go I scribbled an outline of a new message and gave it a shake. Seemed to go ok.

So here are some quotes I came across that reflect 3 qualities I reckon are vital in a good communicator, passion, humour, conciseness

Don’t memorize, internalize. – David Brooks

Let thy speech be better than silence, or be silent. – Dionysius Of Halicarnassus

Learning is directly proportional to the amount of fun you have. – Robert Pike

Always be shorter than anybody dared to hope. – Lord Reading

Grasp the subject, the words will follow. – Cato the Elder

Once you get people laughing, they’re listening and you can tell them almost anything. – Herbert Gardner

The eloquent man is he who is no beautiful speaker, but who is inwardly and desperately drunk with a certain belief. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

They may forget what you said, but they will never forget how you made them feel. – Carl W. Buechner

Make sure you have finished speaking before your audience has finished listening. – Dorothy Sarnoff

I reckon if you observe these then chances are people will enjoy whatever you have to say!

The Other Thought For the Day

From Hirschy

“Michael Frost, a friend of mine was recently privy to a meeting with three Chinese leaders from the underground church who were smuggled out to a group of Western leaders about issues they were facing. When they were asked what wanted prayer for they asked for three things: Whilst acknowledging that the government has become more lenient, they were still not allowed to gather in groups of more than fifteen people and that when they grew beyond that they had to split and start a new church. Could the westerners please pray for that? The second issue they asked for prayer for was that they were not allowed church buildings and were thus forced to meet in homes, cafes, karaoke bars, and social clubs. Could the westerners please pray for that as well? The next thing they felt they needed a breakthrough with was that they were forbidden to develop separate organizations where they could collectively train leaders; they were forced to train leaders in the local church. Michael, himself a vice-president of a seminary, says in all good conscience that he simply could not pray for them in this way because he and the group gathered there realized that in many ways the Communist state was forcing the church to remain more true to themselves. Philip Yancy likewise reports on his life-changing trip to China. He says “Before going to China I met with one of the missionaries who had been expelled in 1950. ‘We felt so sorry for the church we left behind,’ he said. ‘They had no one to teach them, no printing presses, no seminaries, no one to run their clinics and orphanages. No resources, really, except the Holy Spirit.’” Yancy wryly concludes “It appears the Holy Spirit is doing just fine.”

Thought for the Day

“If one wishes to eliminate uncertainty, tension, confusion and disorder from one’s life, there is no point in getting mixed up either with Yahweh or with Jesus of Nazareth.”

Andrew Greeley, New York Times book review, (in Phillip Yancey, Reaching for the Invisible God, p.92)

As you were…



“The greatest proof of Christianity for others is not how far a man can logically analyze his reasons for believing, but how far in practice he will stake his life on his belief” TS Eliot

I remember hearing the story of a door to door ‘evangelist’ who was announcing the end of the world on a specific date and trying passionately to get people to sign up to their cause so that they wouldn’t be obliterated on the final day. One rather clever householder who happened to be a lawyer, asked the ‘evangelist’ if he really believed what he was saying was true.

‘Absolutely! No doubt – whatsoever!’ replied the evangelist.

The lawyer then invited the evangelist to sign everything he owned over to him on the day following the ‘end of the world’.

I guess you know what happened next…

We know what we really believe by how we live. Rather confronting at times isn’t it?

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